Is your website ready for Christmas?
It’s that time of year when online business owners are gearing up for the Thanksgiving and Christmas trade rush. If you own or manage an ecommerce website it is likely that this time of year offers you the greatest opportunity to make money. Traditionally from 1 September the buying frenzy begins – no doubt you’re stocking up with extra products, gearing up for seasonal promotions, reviewing your offers. One thing is for sure, you are expecting more traffic to your website and consequently more conversions to sales.
Thanksgiving and Christmas scream opportunity; is your website making the most of it?
All around the internet there’s a hum of a new way to get the competitive edge. The big guys know all about it - have for some time – and without you even realising have become very good at it, so good that they continue to capture the buyer. These large websites now have new teams of people dedicated to increasing this edge and slowly the word is getting out.
What do these guys have that you don’t?
Ten or fifteen years ago the internet was still a new experience for most people. Back then everybody was on dial up and waiting minutes for a webpage to load was the norm. But as time passed, more and more internet users began upgrading to faster and faster internet connections. As the average user’s connection speed increased, the expectation on websites did as well. Where it used to take minutes to load a single picture and a page of text, it now takes seconds and people are expecting a lot more than a single image or a simple page of text from a modern website. These days’ people expect full on media displays ranging from pictures to videos and flash animations to cutesy cursor modifications. The thing is, all of these features require speed to be effective, and if your website isn’t delivering your content fast enough, the market place will just pass you by.
A fast website means visitors will stay longer and do more
Take a moment to think what you would do. You go to a website and it seems like it takes a long time for the homepage to load, you click on a second page and it’s the same thing – what do you do? In our experience people leave and go elsewhere. This means you are losing business, less people are buying from you, signing up with you, reading your content, clicking your ads – and they are definitely not coming back, either at a very conscious or unconscious level they associate your website as ‘hard’ and with so many options on the internet it’s just easier to go elsewhere.
A faster website allows your visitors to do more, view more, and buy more on your website. Slow website speed decreases a visitors engagement in your website – in an attention deficit age, people just won’t wait and you will lose business. Website visitors seldom give second changes. Right?
In order to generate return traffic to a website or blog, you have to have adequate load times. If your users feel like your page takes too long to load, they’re not going to pay attention, or come back for more. Obviously return visitors and regular traffic are how you generate ad revenue (especially if you’re part of an advertising program that is based on minimum traffic requirements) but people don’t come back to websites that are too hard to access.
You think your website is fast, your customers don’t
You might think your website loads fine, with near instantaneous load times from your home or office. But while your experience might be fine, it could be radically different from the experience that a customer is having on the other side of the world and even at the opposite end of the same country.
Before a web page appears data such as images and scripts need to transfer from where the website is hosted to the browser of the visitor – this takes time. The farther your website’s data has to travel from the server where the website is hosted to customer browser, the longer it takes, so it’s entirely possible that a website with lightening fast domestic response could take 10 times longer to load for an international user. If you sell internationally slow page load will be costing you business and you probably don’t even realize it.
Why speed gives you the competitive edge
There are software tools available that can help boost your website speed. These applications optimize your website’s data for more efficient transmission thereby giving faster load times to people at a distance from the server than they would normally have. Talk about a competitive edge.
Gone are the days when you had to set up distribution and supply channels to get your product to a global consumer market. Instead today you can market, sell, and potentially even distribute your product all directly through the internet. But if international customers are running into issues caused by your website’s lack of speed, you’ll only be sabotaging your own efforts. Why bother building a website for your hand crafted jewelry when you could just go to the flea market? Because online you can capture a global, not just local, market – however a slow website will severely limit this opportunity.
It’s imperative your website can maintain the speed needed to take advantage of this international opportunity and its equally important that you realize that your website will appear at different speeds for customers depending on their location. If your website is hosted in Texas and you’ve got customers in London or Sydney ensure your website is as fast as possible for them – you can be sure that this is a sales barrier many businesses are unaware of, your awareness and action will certainly give you the competitive edge online in a very competitive marketplace.
How to get the edge this Christmas….
Take the website speed test and get a before and after optimization result. If your website can be optimized for greater speed, don’t hesitate – your customers won’t. Increasing you website performance increases your sales performance.
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